What does it look like to be a disciple of Christ? Models abound, but two perennial rivals are the active life and the contemplative life—the Martha and the Mary—or, as we might say today, the activist and theologian. Both are ready to tally the weaknesses of the other: the activist doesn’t care enough about doctrine, the theologian cares a bit too much; the theologian isn’t engaged enough with the world, the activist is a bit too engaged. The theologian thinks the activist shallow; the activist thinks the theologian sterile. Why can’t these two just get along?

Well, Kevin Vanhoozer thinks they can. In his book Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine, Vanhoozer presents a dramatic model of Christian discipleship that shows the fundamental link between knowing and doing: the doctrine is the drama, as Sayers insisted, but it also should lead Christians toward their own dramatic performance—to act out the role of God’s people in the history of redemption.

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